Star Wars Celebration Chicago Day 2 – Episode IX and Ashley Eckstein

Friday, April 12th

Friday. The big day. Every Star Wars Celebration since 2015 has had a major panel introducing the newest feature film, usually announcing a teaser trailer and sometimes the film’s title. Remember Star Wars Celebration Anaheim and the “Chewie, We’re Home” moment? Needless to say, our anticipation was high for Friday morning’s Episode IX Panel.

Star Wars: EPISODE IX Panel

A Trailer and a name. JJ Abrams and Kathleen Kennedy obliged! But before both were revealed, several cast members grouped on stage to talk about the film. Stephen Colbert was a surprise moderator! Some favorite moments:

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I’m Back! #starwarscelebration

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Lando Calrissian makes an appearance in Episode IX, and he made an appearance onstage! The scoundrel garnered a standing ovation from the crowd. Also revealed, new cast member Naomi Ackie as Janna (no last name). When asked if she was related to Lando (perhaps his daughter), she dutifully sidestepped the question. But we all know what’s up.

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@naomiackieig as Janna. #starwarscelebration

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It’s not a Star Wars film without a new droid! J.J. Abrams introduced D-0, BB-8’s new counterpart, and the droid promptly rolled out onstage to gasping fans. Tricia and I both agreed he moved and acted a lot like Pixar’s little lamp.

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BB8 has a new friend

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What Episode IX panel is complete without John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Daisy Ridley? They appeared and their incredible chemistry was on full display. Oscar and John joked about their on and offscreen bromance, and Daisy was full of cute quips.

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“That is me with a stick” @daizyridrey #starwarscelebration

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One of the loveliest moments occurred as Stephen Colbert turned the conversation and questions over to Kelly Marie Tran. Let me preface what happened next.

Back when The Last Jedi opened, a small but vocal segment of fandom took to social media to declare their dissatisfaction with the film. Kelly Marie Tran took the brunt of their vicious comments, and was actually forced to close her Instagram account to stop the barrage of hate.

Back at the Episode IX panel: before Kelly could answer any of Colbert’s questions, the crowd stood up and applauded loudest and longest. We knew the pain she had gone through, and wanted to help in any way we could. Kelly was not the only one with tears in her eyes after that.

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@kellymarietran greatest casting by @riancjohnson #starwarscelebration

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Finally, after nearly an hour, JJ Abrams rolled the Teaser Trailer!!! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adzYW5DZoWs And with the trailer, a name:

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#StarWarsCelebration #episodeix

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The Rise of Skywalker. What does it mean?? I was so inspired by this name and the implications, that I created this T-shirt design, available now:

The Fangirls Interview Ashley Eckstein

The day concluded with one of our favorite moments of the whole convention: Tricia, Teresa and I interviewed Ashley Eckstein about her new HerUniverse fashion line debuting at the convention, “Sisters of the Force”. You can read more detail about it here on Fangirls Going Rogue, or just watch the video interview right now:

Stay tuned as I’ll be sharing more stories from subsequent days of Star Wars Celebration Chicago!


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